Thursday, March 28, 2013

extended breastfeeding

So Elliott is 10 months old and breastfeeding is still going strong. 10 months was a milestone for us because I only made it to 9 months with Lydia...and we had started supplementing at 7 months.

Nursing HAD been going really well with Lydia. I went back to work and I pumped my face off. I knew I had to have a certain number of ounces pumped every day to make it through the next day. It was so stressful. Moms who EP are my heros, seriously. I should have sought out more support. I should have done more to keep up my supply. I just didn't have the tools or support. It is something I really regret. I mean, I was so close! Ugh!

Anyways, being a SAHM has made successful breastfeeding MUCH easier. However, it doesn't make me any less proud. I hit up the LLL meetings, I ate the cookies, drank the tea, BFed uncovered whenever and where ever. BFing is always takes SOME work. And sometimes, it takes really hard work.

So now that we have made it 10 months, it seems hard to imagine stopping in just 2 months. Elliott is still up once or twice a night to nurse, for God's sake! We are so bonded. He still nurses to say "hello" when we haven't seen each other for a few hours. (When I pick him up from my MIL's or something, he comes over to nurse for like, 30 seconds on each side. It is hilarious. I feel like he is just marking his territory.) Then this article crossed my path and now I am seriously considering letting him self-wean. There are a lot of things to consider, but most of the 'con's' are just other people's reactions, which I don't feel is fair. Why should others' ignorance affect how I live my life?

Because this is America, that's why. One religious group is against gay marriage and, before you know it, the American government is considering legislation to make it illegal! How the Hell does that happen? I wish I could be one of those people who seriously never seem to care what others think. I am so jealous of them. I am such a doormat. If I want to do extended breastfeeding, I am going to REALLY have to want it. And I am going to have to have Jeff's support...which I guess means we're going to have to talk about it.

I'm sure he will be on board, but I need to hear it from him. We need to be a strong, united front, deflecting nay-sayers left and right. Luckily, I trust that many of my friends will be supportive. However, I know that some friends and family will NOT be and I would be lying if I said that that would not bother me.

I wish that, instead of calling BFing that goes beyond one year "extended breastfeeding", we called BFing that ends before a year "abbreviated breastfeeding".

Friday, March 22, 2013

cloth diapering with a conscience

Someone posted this great article on my local diaper swap and chat group a few days ago. I really appreciate this article because this is EXACTLY the kind of research I have been curious about. I am becoming more aware but this post taught me a lot and I am so grateful. (Although the comments section seems to indicate that most readers missed the point of the article completely. Ugh.)

When I first started CDing, I was totally focused on the 'eco-friendly' aspect. I found a WAHM right here in my neighborhood (with whom I am still very god friends!) who sold bumGenius and bought something like 30 of them when all was said and done. They worked very well for my daughter but I could not get the right fit for my son. So they leaked and I knew we'd have to get a different kind of diaper for him. It was so frustrating and discouraging at first! Then I decided to make it a shopping adventure. My friend had stopped selling diapers at this point and I had managed to learn very little about diapers in the 2 years I diapered DD alone. (I guess ignorance is bliss is my only defense here.) Luckily, I was able to sell my used bumGenius very easily because they are such a popular brand.

I then went on a used CD buying spree, basically in an effort to try every CD ever invented, until I found some diapers that I really loved for DS. I drove DH nuts because he never knew which inserts went in which diaper and so he couldn't help with laundry and it was just becoming a mess. SO he insisted that I settle on a just a couple different brands and invest in them and sell the rest of what DH refers to as my 'random' diapers (many of which are in like-new condition!). With all the new CD purchases, I had to start researching brands. I started to realize why some diapers cost more than others. I felt this was definitely a social justice issue that I could not ignore. I decided to focus my energy and resources on securing responsibly made diapers. I am obviously not yet 100% successful, but I am making my way!

And now to address some of the "points" made in that ridiculous comments section:

1. I can't afford the 'expensive' diapers! The initial price of cloth diapering CAN seem overwhelming. You look at a big box of disposables for $20 and then see ONE cloth diaper for $20 and it's easy to feel uneasy at first. You have to change your way of thinking and realize that that ONE $20 diaper will last you for 2 years+! It is an investment. It is easy to spend around $600 to start-up CDing between the diapers themselves and some accessories that make CDing easier. That can sound like an enormous number. However, If you think about spending $20 a week on disposables for (at least) two years, THAT number is much higher. Talk about nickel-and-diming! Plus, there are accessories that come with disposable diapering, too! It is for that reason that when people say they "can't afford" responsibly made diapers so they HAVE to buy sweatshop diapers, I roll my eyes. If you can afford to diaper with disposables, you can afford to buy cloth diapers because it is ALWAYS cheaper. (Yes, I am only referring to the cost of the physical diapers themselves and not other factors that other studies consider to calculate true "costs", because when people whine about "costs", that is generally all they are referring to!) Americans want immediate gratification with everything. We have no concept of the phrase "long-term". No one ever wants to look at anything in the long-run and it is obnoxious.

2. My China cheapies are the best! Many people argued that some of their China cheapies were just as good quality as the other brands and that products made in the USA are not always the best. Here's the thing. I don't remember the author ever saying that the China cheapies brands are always awful quality. You just have to decide what is important to you. Perhaps the CDs made in the US are not always the best, but the China cheapies are certainly not THE BEST either. You can easily find a responsibly made brand (not necessarily made in USA) that is just as good, if not better, than a sweatshop brand. It's not like there are no other options. With some products in the US, it is truly to find anything that has been made 100% responsibly (cars, large appliances, etc.) but with cloth diapers, you have LOTS of options. The author of this post wanted to reveal your choices. What you do with that information is up to you!

3. You are just trying to make me feel guilty! The rest of the comments were completely defensive and insistent that the author was just trying to make them feel guilty. First of all, what the does the author gain from that? She herself is not a CD WAHM and does not own a domestic CD company. A rational reading of this post hears a simple, informative tone. She is presenting the readers with facts. It is a fact that there are sweatshops in China, India, etc. where women, children, and men are paid very minimally for long hours in disgusting work conditions. It is a fact that some of these sweatshops are making cloth diapers. It is a fact that that these cloth diapers are sold here in the US for very low prices. It is a fact that many Americans buy those diapers. It is also a fact that many Americans do not even realize that this is the case! Yes, that could be said about many, many products in the US but this was an article specifically about cloth diapers on a blog that is specifically about cloth diapers. If you want to go argue about those things or about the quality of American-made products or outsourcing, etc. go do it somewhere else. This blog was not addressing any of those things. People, nobody can MAKE you feel guilty. You either feel guilty or you don't. If you do, do something about it!

There is so much I am still learning. Tots Bots have become my new favorite diaper of all time. They are so well made and trim and the prints are unmatched in the cuteness department. Best of all, they are responsibly made in England. Now, this makes them pricier than some other diapers but they are so worth it. I still have some CBs (DH's favorite because they are very basic pockets and the inserts have a tell-tale blue tag, which makes it easy for him to help with stuffing) and RaRs, which are made in other countries. As with any products, it can be difficult to discern which are responsibly made, which are not, and which are walking the fine line in between.

Monday, March 18, 2013

more progressive parenting ideas

I just read an incredible blog post about effectively communicating with a tantruming child. (See my comment at the bottom under the name "beachmommy'? Yep, that's me!) You can read it here: Elevated Child Care

Everything I have stated in my comment is the truth. I am a doormat. Jeff is pretty shy, too. I am a little worried about my own children becoming fearful, mouse-like people. Lydia used to exhibit traits of a slow-to-warm temperament and I was so concerned. She didn't smile until she was 10 weeks old. Most pictures of her, until she is about a year old, are of her staring at the camera but not smiling. She was so pensive and introverted.

We have a lot of pictures like this. She doesn't look unhappy but it's not exaclty smiling, is it?
However, what gave me hope was that she HAD bonded well with people besides Jeff and I. She was (and still is) very close to both sets of grandparents. She had a preferred 'teacher' at daycare. She had preferred friends at daycare. I brought her to daycare late one day and when I brought her into the room, many of the children ran to her, joyfully calling out her name. (That made me feel so good!) So I knew she was capable, it was just difficult for her. She would tremble in fear when meeting new people or going to new places. I felt so awful.

She has made a surprising amount of progress on that front. She will now approach new people (while we are around - not just any stranger with candy in a van!) and say hello and introduce herself and ask the new person's name. I am so proud of her! But with this new sense of confidence and independence comes a desire to test boundaries. I love it, I really do. Every time she yells "NO!" at me, I turn my head so she can't see me smile. I'm secretly thinking "You go, girl!"

But of course there are times when she needs (and even wants) boundaries. The death of my father 5 months ago has been tramatic and my sky-rocketing stress level is evident when I snap at her (or my poor husband, for that matter). I need to get it together. My inconsistant snapping is not helping anyone. This article really resonated with me and I am so glad I read it. I am going to be trying these strategies out tomorrow!

PS - My peanut is turning THREE on Wednesday! How can that be? Where does the time go?

From this (still at the hospital)...

to this (my birthday!)

Luvaboos!

Fun announcement: I recently started training for a new part-time job at luvaboos! It has been such a neat opportunity. They stand for so many of the things that are important to me - natural parenting, eco-friendly business, small business, women-owned business, moms supporting moms, etc. It really has the neatest products. I am particularly impressed with the products to support breastfeeding...aaaaand, of course, all of the cloth diapers! My plan is to probably just work 12 hours a week, a few four-hour shifts a week. On Tuesday/Thursdays my wonderfully supportive in-laws are almost always available to watch my kids because they are already watching my nephew. Then Jeff encouraged me to take Saturday shifts, as well, since he'll be home and the store is only open until 5pm. It is very exciting to think about learning and contributing and growing some more. I have said before that when I was young and thinking about a future career, it was all about what title I was going to have. When that didn't work out for me, I realized that I needed to change my attitude. I needed to change my focus from my success and obsessing about what my title says about me to who am I working for. I realized I would be happier as a secretary for an organization whose mission I really believed in than a CEO of a company I don't really care about or can't be proud of. So there's the approach I am taking now. Let's see how it goes and if I find more happiness and fulfillment this way.

Friday, March 1, 2013

some smiles for today

Best article I have read in a loooooooooooooong time! I was laughing my face off. It is just so painfully accurate. Honestly, though, I'll miss this phase when Lydai outgrows it. She is an absolute trip. Her outbursts are so surprising that I usually can't do anyhting but laugh anyway! And this is the one time you will EVER hear me encourage you to read the comments.

Let's get crazy meme of a little kid looking very excited

And this gem is posted at a friend's daughter's preschool. How cool is that? I want one for my livingroom...well, okay, one for the kid's playroom then.

The ABC's of Living Green shows many ways to live a more eco friendly lifestyle.